The Good, The Bad and the PBBTTHHT!

The latter half of this week was kind of rough. I woke up on Wednesday with stomach problems but we had to get going to Social Security to change Lori’s information over to Maryland. For those of you who don’t already know, Lori is autistic. She found this out at age 38, after many years of misdiagnoses and very difficult life experiences. For about 20 years, she has been on SSI. In 2004, she began Ticket to Work, which is a program that is very difficult to navigate if you don’t have someone to help you; and it is very difficult to find someone knowledgeable enough to help navigate it. Long story short, she’d been working and still receiving SSI, which would fluctuate up or down, depending on how much she would make in a given month, and Social Security was always very slow to catch up. It was stressful.

If you receive SSI, you are allowed to own a house if it is your primary residence. We didn’t think about it. I’m a freakin’ social worker and I didn’t think about it, even once. We moved to Maryland. We went to Social Security and Lori honestly reported that she owns a house. She is not allowed to own a house if she doesn’t live in it, as it is considered an asset. Therefore, she is going to lose her SSI. We kind of freaked out.

And we are very fortunate, more fortunate than most, in that we have families and people in our lives who won’t let us fail in this move. But it was, and is, very scary, to suddenly be without that portion of our household income, income that Lori has relied upon for almost half of her life, for the many years she was unable to work, for those times both past and some more recent when it is very hard for her to function. Along with that came medical benefits that pay for the medications that help her on a daily basis. Thank goodness my new job has domestic partnership benefits or she’d be royally screwed.

For the rest of that day and all day Thursday, I was really sick – my stomach was all kinds of messed up, I was extremely fatigued and a little bit delirious. Lori was very stressed out too with bad headaches. Like I said, I know we are very fortunate – we have a wonderful support system, live in a good neighborhood, I’m starting a great job as a psychiatric social worker at Chase Brexton Health Services in a couple of weeks and we have nice things. I’m sure I sound like like an overprivileged whiner, but it still felt like a punch in the gut to lose that money. We have a lot of debt. But I know we will be okay.

National Aquarium, Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Yesterday we did manage to get out and get to the Inner Harbor, get some fresh air, see the water and get some things for the new job. This is one of my favorite parts of Baltimore. I love this view. It looks across the harbor from Harborplace, which seems to be struggling financially, (but still there were people about, enjoying the beautiful Spring day), to the National Aquarium.  Just west of the Aquarium is Baltimore’s World Trade Center and the USS Constellation.

World Trade Center in Baltimore, USS Constellation


We still have a barricade of boxes in our living room, which the cats are coping with in their various ways.

Nikkyo in box Buster on box

Today we were able to put together a good portion of Lori’s office and the bathroom.

royal purple bathroom

Tomorrow brings a breakfast reunion with an old co-worker/friend from my SF AIDS Foundation days and then it’s over to my parents’ place to help cook for Monday night’s Passover seder. I will end this post with a little Maryland humor:

Say no to pot